Do Handwriting Skills Matter?

In seventeen years of serving private students, I've seen cursive handwriting go away. Most of my students use a form of slow, immature printing no matter what age they are. Does it matter? Recently a friend sent me a New York Times article, "What's Lost as Handwriting Fades?", which poses that very question.

Common Core curriculum provides for the training of handwriting in the first two grades, but dispenses with it in favor of keyboarding after that. However, according to the NYT article, children learn to read faster when they are being trained in handwriting. Good handwriting skills also positively affect working memory and enable a student to produce more words and ideas faster when given a writing assignment.

For a long time, I've admired the work of Jeannette Farmer, one of a few U.S handwriting specialists and an educator of educators. Ms. Farmer who has spent many years studying brain research, holds that handwriting plays a critical positive role in the education process, and the absence of handwriting training causes a profoundly negative result in the quality of our students’ educations.

My point in this post is: Parents, I urge you to get your child the training he/she needs to develop good handwriting skills. Summer handwriting camps abound, and the home practice must continue. Brain growth and development for the education years is now.

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